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Land Use Planning for Climate Change

Vermont’s Climate Action Plan calls for an all hands approach and identifies a wide range of actions that municipalities can lead on, especially with respect to our pattern of land use and how that affects both mitigation and adaptation. It can be overwhelming to understand where to begin and what tools might be most helpful. In this session, participants will learn about a range of land use planning tools that can be used to address climate change and some examples of how they’ve been employed.

  • Ann Janda, Senior Energy Project Manager, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission
  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

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Friday, September 30, 2022 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Full Moon Bonfire and Bat Chat

Date: Saturday, October 8, 2022 - 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: Lake Paren, North Bennington, VT | map

Join Lake Paren Recreation and VT Fish and Wildlife bat expert Kerry Monahan for a talk about Vermont's bat species followed by a night time walk where guests will use a handheld bat detector to listen for bat calls. 
After the bat chat, enjoy the full moon and good conversation around our bonfire. Roast a marshmallow and drink some cider!

View Event Flyer for More Info

Saturday, October 8, 2022 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Forests Matter: Land Use Planning for Forest Integrity

The concept of maintaining intact forest in Vermont is not new and is something that town planning and conservation commissions have been implementing for years. But as rural sprawl has increased forest fragmentation and the VT Legislature passed Vermont's Forest Integrity law (often referred to as Act 171), the topic is receiving increased interest. The Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation and the Fish & Wildlife Department has worked with partners to put together a video series highlighting this important topic. The video series pulls together interviews from a diversity of professionals in the field; from foresters, biologists to planners and volunteers working at the local level. Please join us for this exciting session.

  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department
  • Keith Thompson, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation
  • Jim Duncan, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation
  • Jamey Fidel, Vermont Natural Resources Council
  • Clare Rock, Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission
  • Jen Mojo, Agency of Natural Resources
  • Brian Voigt, Waitsfield Planning Commission
  • Linda Hecker, Guilford Conservation Commission
  • Kevin Geiger, Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission
  • Charlie Hancock, Cold Hollow to Canada
  • Jon Kart, Science to Action Steering Committee (Richmond)
  • Alex Weinhagen, Hinesburg Planning & Zoning
  • Deb Shelby, Bolton Planning Commission

Register Now

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Spiny Softshell Turtle Nesting Beach Clean Up Day

Join Fish & WIldlife Department staff in our annual effort to help Vermont's endangered spiny softshell turtles by cleaning up their nesting beaches on Lake Champlain. Volunteers will pull up vegetation on nesting beaches to prepare turtle nesting sites for next year.

We will meet at North Hero State Park at 10:00 a.m.  After finishing at North Hero, the group will carpool to another site in Swanton. 

Please dress in layers of warm clothes and bring water, work gloves, a leaf rake, short-handled tools such as trowels, and your lunch.  Families and kids are welcome.  The cleanup may run until 4:00 p.m., although participants can choose how long to assist.

To get to North Hero State Park, follow Route 2 north past Carry Bay in North Hero.  Take a right on Lakeview Drive, just before Route 2 swings west toward Alburgh.  Follow Lakeview Drive almost to the end until you reach the North Hero State Park entrance sign on the left.  Drive to the end of the road always bearing right. 

For more information, please contact Toni at

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 10:00am to 4:00pm

Introduction to Nature Journaling

Date: Sunday, October 16, 2022 - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Kehoe Green Mount Conservation Camp, Castleton, VT | map

If you’re interested in art and Vermont wildlife, this workshop will encourage you to combine the two. Part of our time will be outdoors observing and exploring our surroundings. Then, we’ll bring it indoors to practice pencil sketching and watercolor painting techniques.

Bring a sketchbook and pencils. We will have watercolor supplies for you to borrow as well as discuss what items you might want to have on hand for your future endeavors in nature journaling.

For adults, or children 12-17 with an adult. Please dress for the weather.

Presenters: Cynthia Moulton (Ecology Professor at Castleton University) and Lois Moulton (middle grades science teacher at Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, MA).

Maximum Registration: 20

Register Now

Sunday, October 16, 2022 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Using Vermont Conservation Design to Help Plan Your Town's Climate Future

Vermont Conservation Design was first released in 2016 and has been used by towns across the state to identify landscape patterns of connected forests and waters as well as community and species hotspots. Vermont Conservation Design certainly does show these areas of current biological diversity but also speaks to climate resilience into the future. Join Community Wildlife Program staff to learn how these concepts come together and how you can use Vermont Conservation Design on the BioFinder website to better plan for your town’s climate future.

  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Lincoln Frasca, Conservation Planning Specialist, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Register Now

Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Environmental Leadership Training Unit 1: From Science to Planning

Our trainings are in-depth, collaborative online courses. Participants must attend all three sessions as well as complete additional brief online coursework. These courses are designed for Vermonters serving on municipal boards or who work as conservation volunteers and want to learn more about the science and concepts involved in Vermont land use planning and land management.

This training (formerly known as NR 1) will introduce participants to important scientific concepts involved in planning for natural resources and focus on skills leaders need to operate effectively. Participants will explore the full suite of issues at play in natural resources planning, from forests and wildlife to floodplains and climate change. Presentations on context, ecological scale, and planning for whole Communities are interspersed with interactive hands-on activities that make this an intensive and exciting training.

  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Lincoln Frasca, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Note: This is a 3-session training course. You must sign up for all three sessions if you wish to take this class and receive the certificate.

Session 1: October 24th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.  (Online)
Session 2: October 31st, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Online)
Session 3 November 7th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Online)

Register for ELT Unit 1


Monday, October 24, 2022 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Alive in the Fields: Understanding Grassland Bird Habitat and Protection

Did you know that Vermont is home to eleven species of grassland birds? Did you know that five of these are listed as Threatened or Endangered and the other six are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)? That means that many towns across the state need to understand more about these species and their habitats and how to plan land use in a way that works for these species. Join Fish & Wildlife Department Bird Project Leader Doug Morin to learn more about this important topic and what towns can do to protect this piece of natural heritage.

  • Doug Morin, Bird Project Leader, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Register Now

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Got Bats?

Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2022 | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Hannaford Career Center Rm. 121, Middlebury VT | map

Celebrate Bat Week by learning about bat lifecycles and life stages from VT Fish & WIldlife Small Mammal Biologist Alyssa Bennett. 

Check Out the Flyer for More Info 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm


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Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
Commissioner Christopher Herrick

1 National Life Drive
Fish & Wildlife LogoDavis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3702

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The mission of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is the conservation of all species of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.